Memo To: Sen. Jon Kyl [R-AZ]
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Farrakhan as a witness on terrorism
It occurs to me that you would do a great service to the nation and the world if the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism that you chair should hold hearings on the threat from the Islamic world, at which Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan would be the primary witness. Did you see the story Wednesday in the Reuters wire about the Islamic edicts advocating worldwide attacks on American civilians and interests? You must know as well as anyone that since the end of the Cold War, the biggest threat to the security of the United States is terrorism, that which arises out of political grievances from the Islamic world being the most serious. On January 13, I sent a memo to Jesse Helms, urging that he hold hearings of Senate Foreign Relations, to hear out the complaints of American Islamic leaders about the difficulty of getting the attention of our government when grievances arise. If we solely concentrate on how to combat terrorism with police action and intelligence gathering, Jon, we are missing any opportunity to nip terrorism in the bud. Edward Peck, who was our ambassador to Iraq in the Carter administration, was the deputy director of the anti-terrorist task force in the Reagan administration. He tells me that even then, the task force was advised by its chairman, Vice President Bush, that they not bother with the causes of terrorism, only how to counter it when it arises.
Minister Farrakhan, whom I have come to know through roughly 75 hours of conversation in the past 14 months — in person and by telephone — is as concerned as you and I are about Islamic terrorism. He speaks out against it and condemns it at every opportunity ~ yet feels frustrated because it cannot be stopped simply by appeals of religious leaders. He believes terrorism — which is criminal political activity — emerges when authorities refuse to hear and adjudicate the legitimate petitions of minorities who believe they are being treated unjustly. He has just returned from a 12-week "friendship tour" of 37 nations, hosted in each by leaders of the Islamic community. At the Nation of Islam's annual Savior's Day celebration in Chicago last weekend, which I attended at his invitation, he spoke of how the people at the bottom of world that he visited look up at the top of the world where we are and are "puzzled, confused, frightened." He said they hear a loud voice from on top that says: "Do what we tell you to do, or we will bomb you, we will kill you and your children." I didn't take notes, but that's more or less the message. He said he tried to explain everywhere that there is a great struggle going on in his country, between those who say we should stay on top by "kicking down" those trying to climb up and those who want to help "boost up" the people at the bottom. He is afraid the kickers are winning.
You may know I believe Min. Farrakhan is a force for good, not evil, and that he himself has been unjustly characterized as "anti-Semitic and bigoted," when he has only criticized the politics of Jews as he has criticized the politics of Christians and the politics of Muslims who ignore scripture and advocate the killing and impoverishment of each other. He believes that by being the vehicle for the 1.5 billion Muslims to have their views heard in the only superpower, he can provide the keys to peace in the Middle East and reconciliation between Muslims and Jews around the world. I'm in an extremely small minority of Christians who believe he is right, but I think you might consider the possibility that I might be right. You may know that Min. Farrakhan thinks very highly of our mutual friend Jack Kemp, who he cited in his Sunday speech as one of very few political leaders who has genuinely tried to find a diplomatic solution to the problems in Iraq. What really impressed him was Jack's courage last year in coming up to him at the hotel arena in Las Vegas where Mike Tyson was fighting, and shaking his hand as a way of breaking the ice between them. By the way, in his Sunday speech, Farrakhan also praised Jimmy Carter, Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot for speaking against the bombing of Iraq. It is my belief and his that bombing Iraq to satisfy our war hawks in Washington would bring a reign of terror onto Israel and the United States, the equivalent of a Waco disaster on a massive scale. I know you have been talking to Jack about these matters and have been seeing some of my missives as well. You should know that if you hold subcommittee hearings on the subject, Min. Farrakhan would be pleased to share his insights and experience as an American Muslim with the Congress.
Here are two letters he sent from his tour on February 7 to President Clinton and Saddam Hussein. As you can see, this is not a political man urging confrontation, but a man who anguishes over the massive loss of life in the region because of misunderstandings and the absence of communication between the children of the one God to whom we all pray. Who knows, they may have helped:
February 9, 1998
The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
United States of America
Washington, District of Columbia
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent; the Merciful
Dear President Clinton:
May this letter find you and your family well and in good spirits despite the controversies and problems facing the nation and you in particular as Head of State.
I'm writing this letter on behalf of both the Iraqi people and the people of the United States. As an American, I thank Allah (God) for the Constitutional guarantees of Freedom of Speech — which, in my judgment, if allowed to be practiced responsibly will always stop America from going the way of past powerful nations and societies that became corrupt and arrogant, and therefore spiritually blinded to right guidance.
I do not believe it is in the best interest of America to destroy a cradle of civilization because of America's disapproval of the leadership and government of the people of Iraq and the thought of Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. You know as well as I he could not use any such weapons without a swift and deadly response from the powers of the world that protect the region. Why then must the city of Baghdad and innocent people be destroyed?
American is too great a power to use her awesome might to make an example of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people to frighten other leaders and nations into thinking that if they don't please the American administration — even though they may be popular with their own people — that you will do to them what it appears, that no matter what President Saddam Hussein does, it will always be too little too late.
As the world's only remaining superpower, you literally stand in the place of Allah (God). Allah (God) has allowed you this position to test you to see how you will act. You are in the greatest position to demonstrate not only Allah's (God's) power to destroy and kill, but you are in the position to be beneficent, merciful, forgiving, and a protecting friend, as well as a power that looks after the weak, the dispossessed and the oppressed of the world.
I want to see America become greater then she is. She can only become that if she acts in the way of Allah (God).
On behalf of all the Muslims in the world, I plead for the Iraqi people and for the great City of Baghdad which has meant so much to modern Western civilization. I appeal to you, Mr. President, on behalf of those whose voices are not heard.
There is a better way to solve this problem and this crisis rather than the use of inordinate force. Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur 'an. "Let not hatred of a people incite you to act unjustly." Regardless of how you and the American administration feel toward Saddam Hussein, do not let your hatred of him incite you to act in a manner that is unworthy of the world's only superpower.
May Allah bless you with right guidance and His Spirit in your awesome position of power of life and death over Iraq. Please remember, My Dear Sir, that Allah (God) ultimately has the power of life and death over you and the future of America.
Please do not fall into the pit wherein the Scriptures might be fulfilled: "As thou hast done. So shall it be done unto thee."
Thank you for reading these few words.
Nation of Islam
* * * * *
February 9, 1998
His Excellency Saddam Hussein
It is prayerfully and humbly, yet with a sense of extreme urgency that I write you now, realizing that there may be only hours remaining before another tragic bombing of Baghdad begins. I believe that it is important that we save Baghdad!
As a person who came to Islam as an adult, I am aware of the dignity that Islam brings. I fully appreciate that you and your people may feel after having suffered so much these last seven years, that death/martyrdom might well be better than a continuation of the status quo, Allah says in the Holy Qur 'an: Persecution is worse than slaughter.
Still, I believe from my study of Qur 'an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) that we can see why a tactical retreat at this time, might not constitute a loss. Consider the Hudaibiyah Truce, "The Victory" told of in Sura 48.
Although many in the Muslim ummah wanted to fight instead of negotiate, by this truce the hands of the enemies of Islam were held back and the Muslims were not persecuted any more. The persecution having ceased, people began to enter Islam in large numbers. Soon, the power of the enemy was broken, as evidenced by the Muslim advance on Mecca -- the true goal all along — just two years later.
I realize, however that even if you are able to negotiate a settlement that allows unfettered access by United Nations personnel for six months, with a time certain for the end of sanctions, some will insist that in the "face-off with America, "Iraq blinked." But, Your Excellency, we who have grown up in Islam inside of America understand that the West wants to destroy you sir, in order to make an example out of your destruction to all strong Muslim leaders.
You are a visionary, and they want to destroy your vision! If they are able to bring you down, that will serve as a warning to Brother Qadhafi in Libya; to Brothers Hassan Turabi and Omar Bashir in the Sudan; it will mean a setback for the goal of unity of the Muslim ummah.
Your Excellency, please consider these thoughts carefully. Saddam Hussein does not need to die in order to prove Americas's point! We can stop them from bombing, from destroying Baghdad!
If the need arises, that you would like to be in touch with me directly, I will return to America February 20 (insha-Allah) and will enclose my telephone numbers.
Your Brother and Servant,
Nation of Islam